Leemen’s Consulting is an establishment that helps clients create new ventures including subsidiaries, coalitions and business products. Currently I had helped them close a 12million naira deal with a developing oil company coming in from the states and the management wanted my say in thier business plan development. I say ‘my’ because jenny said so. I had tried to correct her by saying that it was the input of the firm I worked for that they wanted but she was quite specific. The management wanted me.
“That was why we asked for you to come and not any of your bosses. You personally followed the case relentlessly; You did all the hard work and brought about adequate exposure for us. They were highly impressed and wanted to see you live.”

i closed my mouth and tried not to feel too proud of myself.

The building itself was a makeshift from a duplex apartment. The entire front side of the compound was tarred with some imported trees, about the height of a human being, growing in two rows down to the main entrance of the house. The building itself was painted white with a singular brown stripe across the ground and first floor. Two other official cars were in the copound and there was some bustle of activity as employees moved in and out, engrossed in their daily chores.

I was ushered into the building and upstairs where i met with the managing director and some foriegn partners from the english-french district. They were all very pleased to see me and Jenny did a good job in making me feel comfortable.
the meeting lasted till 5pm and a working plan was laid to bring in the new company gradually into the country. Afterwards i was escorted downstairs and asked to wait for my designated driver who would return me back to my hotel. i decided to use the opportunity to walk around and explore the compound. As i had said earlier most of the front was tarred, but as I moved round to the back of the building, i came across a miniature garden. The place was beautiful. Elaborately hidden by a high fence and an even higher gate, i doubted if any of the people living in the vicinity knew there was a place like this in the town. The garden was outlined by granite stones and the grass that bedded the soil within was luscious and well cultivated giving the backyard a wonderful lemon-green texture. Two rose bushes, obviously imported, were to be seen in full bloom. I touched one but dared not pluck it for fear of annoying my hosts. Maybe i could ask jenny if i could collect a specimen for Nina when going back to Lagos.

And then i saw the leopard.

At first i thought it was a painted statue, part of the decoration for the garden, one of those live size animal mannikins. It was sitting on its haunches at the far end of the garden, almost hidden behind one of the rose bushes. It had a beautiful spotted yellow and black fur coat that shone like it had just been groomed. i was looking at it and wondering how it could look so life-like when it suddenly turned its head to look at me.
A chill ran down my spine as I watched it quickly get up on all fours. My eyes scanned its neck for some sort of chain or restraint but found none. it remained deathly still, watching me, and then i reasoned that there was no way they would leave a leopard roaming freely in the compound. This was obviously a manifestation. i relaxed and stared hard, looking to see if i would be privy to any more revealing manifestations, but the leopard remained still. i knelt on one knee and whistled gently to it, to see if it would approach. it tilted its head to the side in curiosity and i couldn’t help but admire the creature. It continued to watch me with interest, then suddenly gave a low growl and ambled towards me. Before i knew it, it was beneath my hand and i was petting its large orange-yellow head. it purred like a kitten and i laughed as i gained the courage to tickle it further. it felt so real.

that’s because it is real

The thought floated through my head. It was true that since the awakening of Chukwudi the stronger, I could make contact with manifestations but this…this was looking too real. On impulse I looked down at the green grass where the leopard had been standing and the one it stood on now as it pawed the ground with its claws.

The grass was indented where it had lay previously. The blades of grass moved as the leopard raised its foot.

this creature was making contact with the ground.

This wasn’t a manifestation.

The chill on my spine came back full force and my heart skipped several beats.

I was petting a real life leopard.